This is a piece written for our church magazine. Feel free to copy it if you want.


Imagine being shut out. You have had a short experience of what might have been a beautiful land with an air of happiness and ease and people you would like to be with. But you have been put out of it. It is as if a door has shut behind you. The sunlight and the beauty has gone and although you cannot see it you can sense the whole world moving away from you at enormous speed and vanishing in the distance.

And now you are in the darkness. There is a burning pain of radiation reaching deep into you. It makes it difficult to think, painful to move, and painful even to keep still.

And you are not alone. Not far away people are looking for you. Not the sort of people you want to meet. People who were guards in the Nazi concentration camps and loved every minute of it. Pirates who found their delight in raping and torturing their victims. Barbarian chiefs who pegged their captives over bamboo shoots so they could watch the plants grow up through their bodies. People whose pleasure was in sexually assaulting little children. The worst bully you ever knew in school is as nothing compared to them. They are looking for you. They don' t really care about you at all, but you are a chance to work out some of their spite and entertain themselves.

And somewhere near, casting a dread over everything, are other beings. Beings higher in the order of creation than mankind. They started as angels of light and now have fallen to lower depths than man can ever fall to. They are capable of inventing sufferings beyond your imagination, and they will do just that. They know how much they have lost, and their bitterness is enormous. And they too are looking for you.

You can try running and seeking somewhere to hide. But it won't do any good. They know where to look, and they have all the time there is to hunt you. And when they have found you and had their fun they can come back and find you again. And again. More times than you can count up to.

And there is nowhere to turn for help. No policeman to call for. No law to protect you . The only law here is that you can do whatever you want. And that is what they will do. You cannot even call on God for help. He gave you a chance. He cared for you so much that He came into the world as a man and was crucified for you. But you rejected Him and decided to do things your own way. Now it is too late, and there is not even the hope of death to look forwards to as a release. This is going on for ever.

And what will you do when they catch you? Perhaps you can try to fight - but there are so many of them and much stronger than you. Or suffer what they do to you - you will certainly do that! Maybe, eventually, you try to curry favour by joining them and doing the same sort of thing as they do. And you find yourself doing worse and worse things, and becoming more and more loathsome, and hating and despising yourself more and more. And there is no hope of an end to it. Ever.

And all the time there is a burning pain, never relenting, working deep into you, so that you cannot bear to keep still and cannot suffer the agony of moving.



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